Tag Archives | Stonehenge
Is Stonehenge far less lofty than previously believed? Phys.org reports:
British researchers on Saturday unveiled a new theory saying Stonehenge was originally a graveyard and venue for mass celebrations. The findings would overturn the long-held belief that the ancient stone circle was created as an astronomical calendar or observatory.
A team of archaeologists led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson of University College London carried out a decade of research which included excavations, laboratory work and the analysis of 63 sets of ancient human remains. They said the original Stonehenge Appeared to have been a graveyard built around 3000 BC. Analysis of cattle teeth from 80,000 animal bones excavated from the site also suggest that around 2500 BC, Stonehenge was the site of vast communal feasts.
“People came with their animals to feast at Stonehenge from all corners of Britain—as far afield as Scotland,” Parker Pearson said—the “only time in prehistory that the people of Britain were unified.”
Would you dare to tamper with the burial chamber of the mythic King Ale the Strong? Via Live Science:
A 5,500-year-old tomb possibly belonging to a Stone Age chieftain has been unearthed at a megalithic monument in the shape of a ship called the Ale’s Stenar (Ale’s Stones). The tomb, in Sweden, was likely robbed of stones to build the Viking-era ship monument.
Perched on a seaside cliff in the village of Kåseberga stands the Ales Stenar, also called Ale’s Stones, 59 massive boulders arranged in the 220-foot (67-meter)-long outline of a ship. Most researchers believe the 1,400-year-old ship structure is a burial monument built toward the end of Sweden’s Iron Age. Local legend has it that the mythic King Ale lies beneath the site.
The Daily Grail on the meaning of a mysterious, ancient marvel sitting in the South American desert:
In the coastal desert of Peru lies a strange structure consisting of what appears to be a fort atop a hill, but with a vertebrae-like line of 13 towers constructed on a raised area to its south-east.
The fort is odd from a military point of view because it would have been almost impossible to defend: it has numerous entrances and no source of water inside. Then there are the towers, which are several hundred metres from the hilltop fort, lie in a straight line and serve no discernible defensive role.
So archaeologists put forward a new interpretation…the site may have been a place of worship and a solar observatory, like Stonehenge, rather than a fort. Their main evidence was that the towers line up with the sunrise on important dates such as summer and winter solstice.
Today marks the summer solstice – the day of the year when the Earth’s and the moon’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun. It’s a day of celebration around the world, as exemplified by the English at Stonehenge, where Steven Morris reports for the Guardian that the usual mix of pagans and partiers are in attendance:
The summer solstice is meant to be a night and dawn of peace, love and amazement. But not all of those attending the celebrations at Stonehenge entered into the spirit of the event.
Druids, pagans and revellers watched as two men, one shirtless, staged a fist fight at the ancient monument in Wiltshire.
While the majority of the 18,000 people who attended the solstice celebrations were well-behaved, 20 arrests and almost 50 drug seizures were made.
Photographer David Hedges, who witnessed the fight, said: “They were sparring for a few minutes before they really started throwing punches.”
Spectators surrounded the pair and a couple tried to break it up before the police arrived.
The construction of megalithic structures, such as the pyramids and Stonehenge, have long since been a mystery to modern civilization. An archaeology student at the University of Exeter thinks he has found a key component in the movement of the rocks of Stonehenge. Science Daily reports:
A revolutionary new idea on the movement of big monument stones like those at Stonehenge has been put forward by an archaeology student at the University of Exeter.
Whilst an undergraduate, Andrew Young saw a correlation between standing stone circles in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and a concentration of carved stone balls, which may have been used to help transport the big stones by functioning like ball bearings.
Young discovered that many of the late Neolithic stone balls had a diameter within a millimetre of each other, which he felt indicated they would have been used together in some way rather than individually.
The British government has backed out of funding Stonehenge as part of its austerity measures, never mind that doing so was part of Britain’s successful 2012 Olympics bid. The New York Times reports that English Heritage, the part-government-financed body that owns the site, is appealing for private money; could a corporate naming rights deal be part of the package?
The prehistoric monument of Stonehenge stands tall in the British countryside as one of the last remnants of the Neolithic Age. Recently it has also become the latest symbol of another era: the new fiscal austerity.
Renovations — including a plan to replace the site’s run-down visitors center with one almost five times bigger and to close a busy road that runs along the 5,000-year-old monument — had to be mothballed in June. The British government had suddenly withdrawn £10 million, or $16 million, in financing for the project as part of a budget squeeze.
In the world of ancient history, this is pretty big news, reported by the Independent:
Stonehenge had a previously unknown wooden “twin” just 900m to its north-west, according to remarkable new archaeological investigations.
Using the ground-penetrating equivalent of an X-ray, scientists have discovered what appears to have been a circle of massive timber obelisks, constructed more than 4,200 years ago.
The newly discovered “henge” would have been visible from Stonehenge itself – and seems to have been part of a wider prehistoric ritual and religious landscape. Roughly 25m in diameter, it was almost the same size as the central part (the circle of standing stones) at Stonehenge itself.
The newly discovered monument – almost certainly some sort of Neolithic temple – is thought to have consisted of 24 wooden obelisks, each around 75cm in diameter and therefore potentially up to 8m high. The circle of obelisks was enclosed by an inner ditch and probable outer bank.
If they wanted, could druids use their powers to cause accidents? The U.K.’s Metro reports:
Austrian motorway authority ASFINAG said it was skeptical at first and kept the project a secret. But it went public after the druids’ efforts cut the number of deaths at the notorious crash site from six a year to zero in two years.
Arch druid Ilmar Tessmann was called in as a last resort after a high number of fatal accidents were reported on a straight stretch of motorway near Salzburg.
He said the crashes were caused by radiation from a nearby mobile phone mast disrupting the area’s normal ‘terrestrial’ radiation. As well as using quartz standing stones to restore the area’s ‘natural energy’, the druids…[buried] magnets in the ground.
The Black Fridays Episode 16 — Julian Richards
The Black Fridays is pleased to bring you Julian Richards! We believe Julian to be one of the foremost experts on Stonehenge today and we were thrilled that stopped by for a chat! We cover most of the new discoveries that have been made in the areas around the site, as well as other sites of interest in the vicinity. Our honor to talk to Julian … we hope you enjoy!